Servicing Your Air Conditioner in 7 Steps

Lead Image
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-50
What You'll Need
Garden hose
Fin comb
Dust brush
Fan motor oil (specified by your manufacturer)

A professional air-conditioner service or checkup can cost you a lot of money, but you can keep that cash in your pocket by doing some simple maintenance of your own at the beginning and the end of the air-conditioning season. Follow these do-it-yourself servicing steps to stay cool all spring and summer long.

Step 1 — Switch the Power Off

First, switch off the main electricity current to the air conditioner and locate the capacitor. You can easily locate the capacitor by following the directions provided by your air conditioner's manufacturer.

Step 2 — Clean the Condenser Fan and Oil the Fan Motor

The condenser fan will probably be covered with dust, so you should clean it with a brush thoroughly.

Although an air-conditioning servicing expert could charge you around $700 to repair the condenser, you can begin by removing the cover grill and detach the setscrew holding the fan in place. Then, remove the fan to gain access to the oil parts. Lubricate the fan motor with oil specified by the manufacturer.

Step 3 — Clean the Condenser Coils and Fins

Clean the condenser coils using a garden hose. Remove the coil guard before spraying the inside unit. This will prevent the accumulation of water-soaked debris inside the fins.

If the fins are bent, straighten them with a fin comb. You can also clean the fins with the fin comb.

Step 4 — Recycle the Refrigerant

If you need new refrigerant, you should consider hiring a professional. While you can change it yourself, it’s important you know how to ensure that no harmful gases are leaked into the atmosphere during the process.

Step 5 — Service the Filter

If the filter is beyond repair, you should change it. However, if it’s just dirty, you can easily clean it. Failure to clean the filter or change it can lead to developing fungi and bacteria that shouldn’t be inhaled.

Clean the Filter

To clean the filter, remove the casing that encompasses the air-filter. Remove the filter and clean it with a cloth. You can then clean the filter with non-abrasive soap and water. Repeat this procedure once every two weeks to enhance the life of the air-filter. Ensure that it is completely dry before reattaching it to the unit.

Purchase a New Filter

If your filter is too dirty, you can purchase a plastic electrostatic-mesh filter from a local supplier for about $7. Cut the new filter with a pair of scissors. Rinse it with clean water, and then allow it to dry off completely. Then, install the filter by slipping it into place where the old one was.

Step 6 — Service the Ducts

Clean the air ducts regularly with a vacuum cleaner. This will help to remove debris or dust particles that get sucked into the ducts.

Step 7 — Perform Routine Checkups

Check various parts such as fuses, breakers, and the thermostat on a regular basis. Ensure that all the connections are in place, and continue to check the heat side of your HVAC, too, for optimum performance.